Feedback please – difference between projects and BAU

Paul Naybour

Can I please have some feedback on the following question about projects and BAU –

List 5 key attributes of a project and describe how each differs from business-as-usual.
50 marks (10 marks each)

Finite Time – A project is transient. Projects have to be completed within a specific time-frame whereas business-as-usual (BAU) activities are on-going, continuous tasks. For example a project may be to create a prototype for a new software system – this will have a start and a finish. Whereas BAU could be the use of that software system after it has been put into place.

Risk – Projects are significant endeavours that will involve specific over-heads. This is why there are always some risks involved which will need to be managed. BAU is repetitive and seeks consistency so does not hold the same amount of risk.

Specific one-off deliverables – Projects need to produce a set of specific, one-off deliverables in order for benefit to be derived. BAU activities produce specific deliverables but repeatedly. For example a project may be to design and manufacture a new car – the first one that is manufactured will be part of a project but once the car is being manufactured repeatedly it becomes BAU.

Cost – Projects have a specific budget allocated to them whereas BAU usually uses an operational budget. Projects therefore need an approved business case and a sponsor.

Benefit – Projects aim to achieve some specific long-term benefits and are concerned with introducing change. BAU seeks to maintain consistency or introduce slow incremental change.

3 thoughts on “Feedback please – difference between projects and BAU”

  1. Hi

    The question asks for a list and this is worth 20% of the marks. So I would recommend adding a list at the head of the answer. I would award this 25 marks out of 50. You get a maximum of 2 marks for each sentence. So the last two paragraphs need more detail in terms of examples. Each paragraph should be 4-5 sentences long. In general for APM PMQ answers think about answering the following questions
    1) Who
    2) What
    3) Why
    4) When
    5) How
    6) and an example
    in each paragraph.

    I would answer this question somethinglike

    1) Project are temporary
    2) Projects bring about change
    3) Business as usual is repetitive
    4) Projects involve significant risk with a high likely hood of failure
    5) Project teams disband at the end of the project

    1) A project is temporary and has a start and a finish whereas a BAU are on-going operations which are repetitive in nature. For example introducing an new IT system into an organisation is a project whereas manufacturing car is an operation. This means that in comparison to BAU; project managers have to be good at building temporary teams.

    2) Projects brings about change which will ideally deliver benefits once the project is completed whereas BAU is steady process which deliver consistency. So projects deliver significant change where changes are made slowly via by continuous improvement. For example the IT system will deliver a step change in the organisations performance whereas a car manufacturing facility aims to produce the same products consistently. This means project managers need to be good at implementing change in organisations.

    3) BAU are routine and has the same people working together, whereas projects tend to bring together people who have never worked together before. This can be one of the major challenges in project environment. This is because not everyone will in the project team will understand the motives and expectation of the other team members. In comparison a manufacturing team will know each ever quite well because they have worked together for many years.

    4) There are high levels of risks associated with projects whereas BAU operations tend to be adverse to risk. Project are high risk because they involve significant change and the results cannot be evaluated until the end of the project. Whereas the results of BAU activities are more immediate and the risk generally lower probability. So for project managers a formal risk management process is very important.

    5)Projects team are disbanded when the project is finished whereas BAU have teams continuity. This presents a real challenge for a project manager at the end of the project because it can lead to de-motivation of the project team whereas BAU activities are more stable. To be effective a project manager must put in place strategies to address this drop in motivation towards the end of the project.

    This is not much different you yours it just has more detail

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